Tate’s literal thinking keeps him from getting the punch line of most jokes. Many of the funny things Tate says, he has learned from a television show or movie. He has the ability to often use those phrases in an appropriate situation and get a laugh. We can often identify the television character or show where the joke originated. This week Tate keeps telling a joke that he modified from a “Sponge Bob” Xmas show. He modified it to fit Easter, which is tomorrow. It goes like this: “I cannot believe that anyone would celebrate a holiday where a bunny breaks into your house and leaves gifts in a basket!” It is cute. He does understand the joke. He did generalize it and make it fit the occasion. However, it is not his own original thought. He isn’t there yet. After Tate’s autism diagnosis, at age two and a half, we began early intervention. We taught him to pretend, but he could then only pretend the things he had been shown. He could not come up with anything on his own. However, he does come up with his own sequence of events and original ideas now when pretending.
Tate is very visual as most people with autism are and cartoons are what he laughs at the most. Tate LOVES the movie theater and we have spent a lot of time there lately. We have seen “The Muppet Movie,” “The Big Miracle,” “The Secret World of Arriety,” “Journey to the Mysterious Island,” and “The Lorrax.” When a preferred movie is coming to the big screen or is going to be released on dvd, he knows the date and plans an outing to go to the theater or purchase the dvd. He can be very persuasive too. Because he is interested in so few things and asks for almost nothing, I try to accommodate his desires in this area. I can say “no” when I need to though. If we see a movie at the theater and I was not happy with the language or storyline then I let him know we will not be purchasing the dvd. A couple of conversations about it will usually convince him that I am not going to change my mind and he accepts it.
We have seen the previews to a new release called “Pirates: Band of Misfits” that we are looking forward to. We have also seen previews for “The Three Stooges” and I am a bit worried about that one but he sure wants to see it. I try to steer my kids clear of the movies and shows that are crude or crass. I especially hate bathroom humor. I told Tate that I would NOT be taking him to see a movie about the stooges so he has asked Dad to take him. Shawn likes the stooges. The preview we saw showed the classic move that is used by the stooges where one of them pokes someone in the eyes with two fingers. Tate doubles up laughing, as most boys his age would. I guess that is a good thing? I am aiming for “age appropriate behavior.”